Title Image - Quotes by Author Theodore RooseveltPhoto Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Theodore Roosevelt. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ROH-zə-velt; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), often referred to as Teddy or his initials T. R., was an American statesman, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer, who served as the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909. He previously served as 33rd governor of New York from 1899 to 1900 and the 25th vice president of the United States from March to September 1901. Roosevelt emerged as a leader of the Republican Party and became a driving force for anti-trust and Progressive policies.

Roosevelt was a sickly child with debilitating asthma but partly overcame his health problems by embracing a strenuous lifestyle. He integrated his exuberant personality, a vast range of interests and achievements into a "cowboy" persona defined by robust masculinity. He was home-schooled and began a lifelong naturalist avocation before attending Harvard. His book The Naval War of 1812 (1882) established his reputation as a learned historian and popular writer. Upon entering politics, he became the leader of the reform faction of Republicans in New York's state legislature. His wife and mother both died in rapid succession, and he began to frequent a cattle ranch in the Dakotas. He served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President William McKinley but resigned to lead the Rough Riders during the Spanish–American War. Returning a war hero, he was elected governor of New York in 1898. After Vice President Garret Hobart died in 1899, the New York state party leadership convinced McKinley to accept Roosevelt as his running mate in the 1900 election. Roosevelt campaigned vigorously, and the McKinley–Roosevelt ticket won a landslide victory based on a platform of peace, prosperity, and conservation.

Roosevelt took office as vice president in 1901 and assumed the presidency at age 42 after McKinley was assassinated the following September. He remains the youngest person to become President of the United States. Roosevelt was a leader of the progressive movement and championed his "Square Deal" domestic policies, promising the average citizen fairness, breaking of trusts, regulation of railroads, and pure food and drugs. He prioritized conservation and established national parks, forests, and monuments intended to preserve the nation's natural resources. In foreign policy, he focused on Central America where he began construction of the Panama Canal. He expanded the Navy and sent the Great White Fleet on a world tour to project American naval power. His successful efforts to broker the end of the Russo-Japanese War won him the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize. Roosevelt was elected to a full term in 1904 and continued to promote progressive policies. He groomed his close friend William Howard Taft to succeed him in the 1908 presidential election.

Roosevelt grew frustrated with Taft's brand of conservatism and belatedly tried to win the 1912 Republican nomination for president. He failed, walked out, and founded the Progressive Party. He ran in the 1912 presidential election and the split allowed the Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson to win the election. Following the defeat, Roosevelt led a two-year expedition to the Amazon basin where he nearly died of tropical disease. During World War I, he criticized Wilson for keeping the country out of the war; his offer to lead volunteers to France was rejected. He considered running for president again in 1920, but his health continued to deteriorate. He died in 1919. He is generally ranked in polls of historians and political scientists as one of the five best presidents.

Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don't have the strength.

--Theodore Roosevelt

It is only through work and strife that either nation or individual moves on to greatness. The great man is always the man of mighty effort, and usually the man whom grinding need has trained to mighty effort.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Risk is like fire: If controlled it will help you; if uncontrolled it will rise up and destroy you.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak, so we must and we will.

--Theodore Roosevelt

When the spring round-up begins the horses should be as fat and sleek as possible. After running all winter free, even the most sober pony is apt to betray an inclination to buck; and, if possible, we like to ride every animal once or twice before we begin to do real work with him.

--Theodore Roosevelt

To be really beneficial the sport must be enjoyed by the participator. Much more health will be gained by the man who is not always thinking of his health than by the poor being who is forever wondering whether he has helped his stomach or his lungs, or developed this or that muscle.

--Theodore Roosevelt

To my mind there is a peculiar fascination in hunting the mule-deer. By the time hunting season has arrived the buck is no longer the slinking beast of the thicket, but a bold and yet wary dweller in the uplands.

--Theodore Roosevelt

No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor.

--Theodore Roosevelt

I think if the people of this country can be reached with the truth, their judgment will be in favor of the many, as against the privileged few.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Stand against him in no spirit of vengeance, but only with the resolute purpose to make him act as decent citizens must act if this Republic is to be, and to be kept, what it shall become.

--Theodore Roosevelt

There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of the great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief , the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.

--Theodore Roosevelt

You can't choose your potential, but you can choose to fulfill it.

--Theodore Roosevelt

It tires me to talk to rich men. You expect a man of millions, the head of a great industry, to be a man worth hearing; but as a rule they don't know anything outside their own business.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.

--Theodore Roosevelt

No ordinary work done by a man is either as hard or as responsible as the work of a woman who is bringing up a family of small children.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Longer Version:

No ordinary work done by a man is either as hard or as responsible as the work of a woman who is bringing up a family of small children; for upon her time and strength demands are made not only every hour of the day but often every hour of the night.


Our flag is a proud flag, and it stands for liberty and civilization. Where it has once floated, there must be no return to tyranny.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The second cup of coffee is never as good as the first.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The wildlife of today is not ours to do with as we please. The original stock was given to us in trust for the benefit both of the present and the future. We must render an accounting of this trust to those who come after us.

--Theodore Roosevelt

No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life in a great cause.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Bullies do not make brave men; and boys of men of foul life cannot become good citizens, good Americans, until they change; and even after the change, scars will be left in their souls.

--Theodore Roosevelt

I abhor injustice and bullying by the strong at the expense of the weak, whether among nations or individuals.

--Theodore Roosevelt

To waste and destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them.

--Theodore Roosevelt

I always keep my weather eye on the opposition of my seventh house Moon to my first house Mars.

--Theodore Roosevelt

We must diligently strive to make our young men decent, God-fearing, law-abiding, honor-loving, justice-doing and also fearless and strong.

--Theodore Roosevelt

It pays no matter what comes after it, to try and do things, to accomplish things in this life and not merely to have a soft and pleasant time.

--Theodore Roosevelt

In battle, the ONLY bullets that count are those that hit.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Americanism is a question of spirit, of conviction and purpose, not creed or birthplaces. The test of our worth is the service we render.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The Bad Lands grade all the way from those that are almost rolling in character to those that are so fantastically broken in form and so bizarre in color as to seem hardly properly to belong to this earth.

--Theodore Roosevelt

It either is or ought to be evident to everyone that business has to prosper before anyone can get any benefit from it.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The biggest corporation, like the humblest private citizen, must be held to strict compliance with the will of the people as expressed in the fundamental law.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Great corporations exist only because they are created and safeguarded by our institutions; and it is therefore our right and duty to see that they work in harmony with these institutions.

--Theodore Roosevelt

I am far from underestimating the importance of dividends, but I rank dividends below human character.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Freedom is not a gift which can be enjoyed save by those shown themselves worthy of it.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Every expansion of civilization makes for peace. In other words, every expansion of a great civilized power means a victory for law, order, and righteousness. ...It is only the warlike power of a civilized people that can give peace to the world.

--Theodore Roosevelt

We have room in this country for but one flag, the Stars and Stripes!

--Theodore Roosevelt

Don't foul, don't flinch-hit the line hard.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Free speech exercised both individually and through a free press, is a necessity in any country where people are themselves free.

--Theodore Roosevelt

There is no good reason why we should fear the future, but there is every reason why we should face it seriously, neither hiding from ourselves the gravity of the problems before us nor fearing to approach these problems with the unbending, unflinching purpose to solve them aright.

--Theodore Roosevelt


The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the state because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Our country, we have faith to believe, is only at the beginning of its growth. Unless the forests of the United States can be made ready to meet the vast demands which this growth will inevitably bring, commercial disaster, that means disaster to the whole country, is inevitable.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The death-knell of the republic had rung as soon as the active power became lodged in the hands of those who sought, not to do justice to all citizens, rich and poor alike, but to stand for one special class and for its interests as opposed to the interests of others.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The name Roosevelt has this legendary force in our country at this time.

--Theodore Roosevelt

A leader is an average, everyday person who is highly motivated.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The one absolute certain way to bring this nation to ruin ... would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The hardest lessons to learn are those that are the most obvious.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The power of the
journalist is great, but he is entitled neither to respect nor admiration because of
that power unless it is used aright.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Silent strength is the quality of all good men and most mummies.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The modern naturalist must realize that in some of its branches his profession, while more than ever a science, has also become an art.

--Theodore Roosevelt

I have already lived and enjoyed as much life as any nine other men I have known.

--Theodore Roosevelt

No man in public position can, under penalty of forfeiting the right to the respect of those whose regard he most values, fail as the opportunity comes to do all that in him lies for peace.

--Theodore Roosevelt

I put myself in the way of things happening, and they happened.

--Theodore Roosevelt

No President has ever enjoyed himself as much as I?

--Theodore Roosevelt

We must remember not to judge any public servant by any one act, and especially should we beware of attacking the men who are merely the occasions and not the cause of disaster.

--Theodore Roosevelt

After the war, and until the day of his death, his position on almost every public question was either mischievous or ridiculous, and usually both.

--Theodore Roosevelt

A great democracy must be progressive or it will soon cease to be a great democracy.

--Theodore Roosevelt

We did everything possible to keep up the spirits of the men, but it was exceedingly difficult because there was nothing for them to do.

--Theodore Roosevelt

A President has a great chance; his position is almost that of a king and a prime minister rolled into one.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Longer Version:

A President has a great chance; his position is almost that of a king and a prime minister rolled into one. Once he has left office he cannot do very much; and he is a fool if he fails to realize it all and to be profoundly thankful for having had the great chance.


Profanity is the parlance of the fool. Why curse when there is such a magnificent language with which to discourse?

--Theodore Roosevelt

And it is through strife and the readiness for strife that a man or a nation must win greatness. So, let the world know that we are here and willing to pour out our blood, our treasure, our tears. And that America is ready and if need be desirous of battle.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Rhetoric is a poor substitute for action.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The truth is that any good modern rifle is good enough. The determining factor is the man behind the gun.

--Theodore Roosevelt

If I have to choose between peace and righteousness, I'll choose righteousness.

--Theodore Roosevelt

There are many occasions when the highest praise one can receive is the attack of some given scoundrel.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The most ultimately righteous of all wars is a war with savages.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Longer Version:

The most ultimately righteous of all wars is a war with savages, though it is apt to be also the most terrible and inhuman. The rude, fierce settler who drives the savage from the land lays all civilized mankind under a debt to him. ...It is of incalculable importance that America, Australia, and Siberia should pass out of the hands of their red, black, and yellow aboriginal owners, and become the heritage of the dominant world races.


You cannot create prosperity by law. Sustained thrift, industry, application, intelligence, are the only things that ever do, or ever will, create prosperity. But you can very easily destroy prosperity by law.

--Theodore Roosevelt

There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The nation should be ruled by the Ten Commandments.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The vice of envy is not only a dangerous, but a mean vice; for it is always a confession of inferiority. It may promote conduct which will be fruitful of wrong to others, and it must cause misery to the man who feels it.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Much of the usefulness of any career must lie in the impress that it makes upon, and the lessons that it teaches to, the generations that come after.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The lives of truest heroism are those in which there are no great deeds to look back upon. It is the little things well done that go to make up a truly successful and good life.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The beauty and charm of the wilderness are his for the asking, for the edges of the wilderness lie close beside the beaten roads of the present travel.

--Theodore Roosevelt

All privileges based on wealth, and all emnity to honest men merely because they are wealthy, are un-American.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Any man who tries to excite class hatred, sectional hate, hate of creeds, any kind of hatred in our community, though he may affect to do it in the interest of the class he is addressing, is in the long run with absolute certainly that class's own worst enemy.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The one being abhorrent to the powers above the earth and under them is the hyphenated American.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The dull, purblind folly of the very rich men, their greed and arrogance, and the corruption in business and politics, have tended to produce a very unhealthy condition.

--Theodore Roosevelt

We stand at Armageddon and we battle for the Lord.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The wolf is the arch type of ravin, the beast of waste and desolation.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Americans learn only from catastrophe and not from experience.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Even in ordinary times there are very few of us who do not see the problems of life as through a glass, darkly; and when the glass is clouded by the murk of furious popular passion, the vision of the best and the bravest is dimmed.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Avoid the base hypocrisy of condemning in one man what you pass over in silence when committed by another.

--Theodore Roosevelt

No man who is corrupt, no man who condones corruption in others, can possibly do his duty by the community.

--Theodore Roosevelt

It is both foolish and wicked to teach the average man who is not well off that some wrong or injustice has been done him, and that he should hope for redress elsewhere than in his own industry, honesty, and intelligence.

--Theodore Roosevelt

The teachings of the Bible are so interwoven and entwined with our whole civic and social life that it would be literally impossible for us to figure to ourselves what that life would be if these teachings were removed.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Anything that encourages pauperism, anything that relaxes the manly fiber and lowers self-respect, is an unmixed evil.

--Theodore Roosevelt

I hold it to be our duty to see that the wage-worker, the small producer, the ordinary consumer, shall get their fair share of business prosperity. But it either is or ought to be evident to everyone that business has to prosper before anybody can get any benefit from it.

--Theodore Roosevelt

It is a great mistake to think that the extremist is a better man than the moderate. Usually the difference is not that he is morally stronger, but that he is intellectually weaker. He is not more virtuous. He is simply more foolish.

--Theodore Roosevelt

We do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious effort; the man who never wrongs his neighbor, who is prompt to help a friend, but who has those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Such an experiment without actual conditions of war to support it is a foolish waste of time... I once saw a man kill a lion with a 30-30 caliber rifle under certain conditions, but that doesn't mean that a 30-30 rifle is a lion gun.

--Theodore Roosevelt

If we lose the virile, manly qualities, and sink into a nation of mere hucksters, putting gain over national honor, and subordinating everything to mere ease of life, then we shall indeed reach a condition worse than that of the ancient civilizations in the years of their decay.

--Theodore Roosevelt

It is better to be faithful than famous.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Nine tenths of wisdom consists in being wise in time.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Laws are essential emanations from the self-poised character of God; they radiate from the sun to the circling edge of creation. Verily, the mighty Lawgiver hath subjected himself unto laws.

--Theodore Roosevelt

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